By Judith Townend
Amid all the excitement, there are some important legal questions to ask about super injunctions and anonymous privacy injunctions.
Lord Neuberger’s committee report released on Friday 20 May goes some way to provide some clarification, in terms of definitions, procedure and identifying uncertainties.
But the debate is far from over, in the newspapers (see left), Parliament and the Courts.
My commentary for the Guardian argues that the report cuts through some of the media excitement and hysteria, even if it doesn’t answer all the questions. Here’s an extract:
Keeping a level head in response to screams about superinjunctions does not mean there is no need to scrutinise the secrecy and anonymity of privacy cases. The public and the media need to know what type of cases are taking place in the courts to assure everyone that judges are properly upholding the right to freedom of expression and the principle of open justice.
In that sense, the hysteria of recent months was unsurprising. People simply didn’t know the extent of the superinjunction problem. A centralised secure database, as now recommended by the committee, would help assuage those concerns.
Of course, justice sometimes requires a degree of secrecy, but the media must know why. It was reassuring, then, to hear Neuberger say: “… when it [secrecy] is ordered, the facts of the case and the reason for secrecy should be explained, as far as possible, in an openly available judgment”.
The media and public need to know what the orders are – as was forbidden in the case of Trafigura – and the committee’s recommendations emphasise the important balance between freedom of expression and open justice, and an individual’s right to confidentiality and privacy.